Pyrography Basics

Pyrography Styles – Pointillism

Pyrography is so much more than just outlining your pattern and burning the background to black.  Any art style can be created, using a wood burning tool and your selected pen tips.

Pyrography Styles Handbook by Lora S. Irish, at

Let’s look at Pointillism in this day’s post.

Pointillism, also called Neo-Impressionism, was introduced in the late 1880’s by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac.  There is a great Wiki article on this painting style – read more here.

Pointillism began as a new way to blend colors on a canvas.  Instead of blending two or three colors to create a new color, small, tightly packed dots of the two colors visually created the new third color.  So instead of mixing and blending cadmium yellow with ultramarine blue to create a medium green, a very small dot of yellow was painted next to a small dot of blue.  Your eye then blends the two color dots into the new green tone.

To learn more about Pyrography art styles, please visit for your copy of Pyrography Styles Handbook by Lora S. Irish – Your comprehensive guide to the 7 major styles of woodburning: crosshatching, realism, pointillism, shaded drawing, engraving, silhouette, and texture painting. is an affiliate of Amazon.

Watercolor Painting your Wood BurningPlease see our article, Color Wheel or Who is Roy G. Biv?

If a yellow-green was wanted the artist would paint two small dots of yellow next to the blue.  If you wanted a darker green, then the artist used two touching dots of blue with one dot of yellow.

The idea of using dots instead of strokes directly impacts how we as wood burning artists can create a pyrography image.  Where Neo-Impressionists used color dots, we wood burners use heat setting for pale, medium and dark dots, and density to create pale tonal area to almost solid black areas in our work.




Celtic knot pyrography wood burning patternFor more reading on pyrography and wood burning techniques, please see our pyrography navigation menu.

This Celtic Bird Postage Stamp burning is also worked in the Pointillism style, and available for free here at  This post includes the free Celtic Bird postage stamp pattern.





The cougar pyrography project will take you, step-by-step, through a fun, pointillism work.

This entire design is worked using only a small dash stroke made with a ball tip or loop tip pen.  How hot the temperature setting is and how densely you pack those dash strokes gives the sepia value range – pale areas, medium toned areas, and black areas.

This post included the free Cougar pattern and is one of the step-by-step projects included in Pyrography Style Handbook.

Posting tomorrow on Silhouette style burnings !!!!


Sepia Tonal Value Crayons for Pyrography

Crayons are a quick and easy media to use on your printed patterns when you want to test your tonal values before you begin your pyrography burn.

While browsing through the Back to School supplies at my local big box store I came across Crayola’s 24 pack of Colors of the World skin toned crayons.  This same palette of colors is also available from Crayola as marking pens –  Crayola Ultra Clean Washable Multicultural Markers, Broad Line, 10 Count,  and in colored pencil media – Crayola 24 Colors of The World Skin Tone Pencils.

(These are Affiliate links above.)

All these packs hold a range of yellow-brown, red-brown, and neutral brown color giving us, pyrographers, a full sepia scale to compliment our burnings.









Before you touch your wood watercolor paper, or gourds with your pen, use can use these color packs to establish exactly where you want your shading and how light or dark you want it.









Any mistakes or any decisions to change an area’s value is worked out on paper, not on your expensive basswood plaque.

Free pattern





Free Pyrography Clock Pattern

This pyrography project uses a 1/8″ x 8″ x 10″ basswood plywood plaque as the base media for my newest kitchen clock work.  It has been a fun project that’s included wood burning, colored pencil art, and collage applique, plus a little bit of bling with twine, silk flowers, and two black bumble bee accents.

free pyrography clock pattern

Even though the 1/8″thick plywood can warp with high-heat burning or high-humidity conditions, it is so light weight that the small quartz battery clock hanger fully supports the project – you can hang this anywhere.

My finished painted daisies pyrography clock is show displayed on a small wood easel and, while meant to go into my kitchen is still sitting on my computer desk.

Your free Lora S. Irish pattern is just below the supply list.


Supply list: links

Walnut Hollow Creative Woodburner Wire Tip Wood Burning Tool
(Note – this Amazon link shows the Creative tool on sale at 42% off as on Feb. 11, 2021)

8″ x 10″ x 1/8″ basswood plywood
(This link offers a 15 sheet pack of 12″ x 12″ x 1/8″ sheets)

Saral 12″ x12′ Graphite Transfer Paper

Quartz Clock Movements with Black Hands

Handmade Antique Deckle Edge Blank Paper – A4 Size Package of 50

Scotch Quick Drying Tacky Glue

Zenacolor, 120 Watercolor Pencils, Numbered, with Brush and Case

2 – black bumble bee picks (I found mine at Michaels.)

Easel Tabletop Painting Easel with Canvas Sets(4 Packs) Wooden Art Table Easel Stand


The featured quote: 

Time flies like an arrow: fruit flies like a banana. ~ Groucho Marx


Free for Personal Use Pattern:

free pyrography clock pattern

For more floral clock ideas please visit, my pattern website.
Henna Tattoo Patterns 1

Henna Tattoo Patterns 2

Floral Clocks

Step 1:  Prepare your wood plaque by lightly sanding the wood with 220- to 320-grit sandpaper, working the sanding strokes with the grain of the wood.  Remove all sanding dust.  Using graphite paper, trace your pattern.  Using the ball-tip pen and my Walnut Hollow Creative tool, I burned the general outlines of the daisy pattern, numbers, and quote onto my wood plaque.  I used a medium-hot setting of 6 – 8.

When the outline is completed, erase any graphite lines or pencil lines that remain from the pattern tracing step.

free pyrography clock patternStep 1


Step 2:  I was not happy with my lettering burn, but very pleased with my outline work.  My solution was to create a collage paper piece to add to the plywood that would carry my quote while covering up my wood burned letters.  I chose a heavy, yet flexible antique paper that easily went through my home computer printer.  You can see that collage piece temporarily placed over the burned letter.

free pyrography clock patternStep 2


Step 3:  Still using the ball-tip pen and a medium heat setting of 4 – 6, I have added shading to the background area of the pattern.  Lowering the temperature a bit more to the 3 – 4 heat level, I then worked light shading into the flowers and leaves.

free pyrography clock patternStep 3


Step 4: When your burning is done its time to get out your favorite artist-quality colored pencil set.  Do a quick google image search under ‘painted daisy chrysanthemums’ for coloring ideas.

I used tones of yellow through bright red for the petals, yellow greens for the inner flower leaves, and green teals for the background leaves.  Tones of sienna, golden brown, and chocolate make up the flower centers.

Both white colored pencil and white chalk pastel pencil was used to brighten the highlights of the work.

Lay several thin lines of quick-dry tacky glue to the back of your collage paper.  Use a stiff piece of card stock to evenly spread the glue.  Position your quote to your plaque and press lightly into place.  Place a heavy book on top of the quote to press the paper evenly to the wood and let dry.

Several light coats of matte spray sealer.  The sealer protects your raw wood, colored pencil work, and collage paper.


free pyrography clock patternStep 4


Step 5:  Here’s my finished clock with the quartz clock movement inserted, bees in place, and just one fun silk flower.

free pyrography clock pattern

Hope you have fun creating your own pyrography clock!  Thanks for stopping by my blob ~ Lora

How to Begin Your First Pyrography Project – 2 – Wood Burning Units


A wood burning is created with five elements – the wood burning unit, the pen tips, the media on which you are working, the pattern or design you will burn, and the art style you will use to create the design. Lets look at the pyrography systems first.
There are three styles of wood burning units: one-temperature tools, rheostat-controlled tools, and variable-temperature tools. Which you chose depends on both your interest in this craft, your pyrography budget, and the media on which you will be working.


Walnut Hollow Introductory Wood Burning Tool

Shown above is a regular one-temperature tool the reaches around 950 degrees.

The one temperature tool has the heating elements inside of the handle of the tool and comes with a variety of brass interchangeable tips that are placed in a threaded receptacle at the end of the tool. Tool tips for this style of burning system include the universal tip, calligraphy tip, cone tip, large ball shader and large flat shading tip.

Once plugged into an electrical outlet the tool quickly reaches an even but high temperature so the tonal value work in your project must be controlled through the textures or strokes that you use and the speed of the stroke. Very pale tonal values are burned by using a light pressure to the tip against the wood and moving the tool tip quickly through the burn stroke. Darker tones use a medium pressure and slower motion.

Walnut Hollow Creative Woodburner Detailer

The one-temperature tool on the right has a low-temperature setting around 750 degrees.

One temperature burning tools are inexpensive, readily available at your local craft or hobby store and excellent for first time wood burners to give our craft a try. I began wood burning twenty-five years ago with this style of tool. Several years ago I purchased a new one temperature unit so I would have two tools on the table, each with a different tip, ready for use in my projects. Today, although I now have two variable temperature systems I still find that I use my one temperature system on a regular bases.

A low-temperature, one-temperature tool is perfect for your leather, and cloth burnings.

A full range of tonal values can be burned using a one temperature tool. Burn your pale tones as the tool tip begins to heat and save your darkest tones for when the tool tip has reached its full setting.



Walnut Hollow Versa-Tool

The rheostat control on the cord of this burning unit allows you to adjust the heat settings from very pale, cool tonal value burns to the purest hot black lines.

This inexpensive beginner’s wood burning pen has a rheostat on the power cord which allows you to control the temperature of the burning tip. It allows you full control over the pen tip’s heat setting.
The sample rheostat burner, shown below, uses the same interchangeable brass tips as the one temperature tool.

The screw-in brass burning tips shown here fit both the one-temperature burning unit and the rheostat unit. From left to right are shown a calligraphy tip, cone tip, flat shader tip, large ball tip, and a texturing tip. The universal writing tip is inserted in the burning pen.
Brass tips can take quite a bit of pressure and abuse at very hot temperature settings which make them perfect for wide, thick black line work on heavily sapped woods as white pine, sugar pine and cedar.

The tonal values in the practice board are worked by controlling the pressure of the tip on the wood, the speed of the stroke, and the density of the lines burned as well as by adjusting the rheostat temperature settings.


Walnut Hollow Creative Tool

For the projects and practice board shown in this book I am using the Walnut Hollow Creative tool – a variable-temperature tool with four interchangeable pen tips.

Variable temperature systems have a dial thermostat that allows you to control how cool or hot your tip is. You can adjust the temperature setting quickly making it easy to control your tonal values in your project. This style has two types of pens – the fixed tip pen where the tip is permanently set in the hand grip and the interchangeable pen where different wire tips can be used with the hand grip.

Because the temperature controls for variable-temperature tools are located in an independent case from the burning pen, the pen handle shapes are much thinner, light-weight, and easier to grip for long term burnings. A long cord from the control unit to the pen gives you free movement of your pen as you work your burning strokes.



The high end, high quality wood burning units available to our craft have fixed-tip pens that transfer the heat of the unit through the pen tip uniformly.  There is little or no variation in temperature burn settings between one project and the next.  So when you need a medium-high tonal value of 5 you can rely on these units to give you the same tonal value time after time.

My tow favorites are shown below and both have been put through extremely hard use for over ten years.  Both have preformed outstandingly.

Colwood Detailer

The second high-quality wood burning unit that I purchased was a Colwood Detailer.  This one burning tool has been used to create over ten years of pyrography pleasure and in the writing of five pyrography books.  I highly recommend any Colwood product.


Optima 1 Dual Pen System
The third high-quality tool that I added to my kit is the Optima 1 with a duel pen system.  This unit has given years of hard work and was used in my latest two publications of pyrography. You can’t go wrong with an Optima.

I will note here that my first high-quality wood burning tool was a RazorTip that I used in the creation of my first pyrography book, The Great Book of Wood Burning.  Personally, I find that RazorTip’s pen tip wires are not as durable or long lasting as those of the Optima or Colwood units.


How to Begin Your First Pyrography Project – 1

Step-by-Step Instructions, Techniques, & Tips for Wood Burning Success – Page 1

This free, online pyrography book will take you, step-by-step, through the basic techniques of pyrography, also called wood burning.  Over the next few days it will be posted in the order of the Table of Contents below.

So, please bookmark so that you can enjoy this free e-project and work along with me as we create a wood burning practice board, explore wood burning tools, pyrography tips, and do two complete Celtic Knot Pyrography burns.

learn the basicstp pyrographySample Wood Burning Practice Board








1 Definition of Pyrography  – posted Nov. 17, 2020
2 Safety
3 Basic Tool Kit
4 Wood Burning Systems – posted Nov. 17th, 2020
5 One-Temperature
6 Rheostat Tools
7 Variable Temperature Tools
8 Wood Burning Pen – posted Nov. 18, 2020
9 Hand Grip Positions – posted Nov. 18th, 2020
10 Loop Tip Pen – posted Nov. 18th, 2020
11 Ball Tip Pen
12 Spear Shader
13 Spoon Shader Pen
14 Practice Board – Nov. 19th, 2020
15 Wood Burning Media – Nov. 22nd, 2020
16 General Kit Supplies – Nov. 22nd, 2020
17 Cleaning Your Tips – Nov. 22nd, 2020
18 Grain Direction – Nov. 24, 2020
19 Sanding the Wood Blank
20 Transferring the Pattern, Nov. 24, 2020
21 Graphite on an Irregular Shape
22 Pencil Graphite Rubbing
23 Pattern Re-Alignment Marks
24 Tonal Values – Working the Celtic Blue Bird Pattern

27 Finishing
25 Patina
27 Working a Sepia Value Pattern
28 Rooster Celtic Knot Project
29 Double Dove Celtic Knot Project
30 Bonus Patterns





Pyrography is the art of creating simple line designs, highly detailed renderings, and shaded drawings using a hot tipped pen on natural, wood or wood-like surfaces. As the hot tipped pen is pulled across the surface of the media the tip literally burns the media to create pale through dark tonal value lines. The pattern of lines and shading strokes that you use in your wood burning work determines the art style of the finished project. Any pattern can be worked in any art style or in a combination of styles.



Let’s take a moment and consider a few simple safety precautions.
1. Your project media should be an untreated, unpainted, and unfinished natural surface. Paints, polyurethane sealers, varnishes, and chemicals used in treating wood can release toxic fumes during the burning process.
2. Do an Internet search on the media that you will be burning to discover if it has any toxic properties, there are several excellent data bases available.
3. Work in a well ventilated area. A small fan, set on your table that points toward your work, will move the smoke and fume away from your face. Whenever possible work near an open window.
4. Avoid laying your project in your lap during the burning steps. This places your face directly above the fumes, which increases your chances of inhaling the smoke.
5. Unplug your burning unit from the wall socket whenever you are not working. An unattended hot pen tip can cause fires.
6. While working, set your pens either on the pen stand provided by the manufacturer or on a tile ceramic tile.

During this free, online pyrography project I will be using Walnut Hollow’s Creative Tool.  Available on at under $100 USD.  It is an excellent entry-level, variable temperature tool that comes with the four interchangeable tips – ball-tip, loop-tip, spear-shader, and spoon-shader.


Your First Pyrography Project, a free for personal use online publication, is an original work, first published in 2020 by Lora S. Irish and Art Designs Studio and fully copyrighted, All International Rights Reserved and may not be distributed in any manner. The patterns contained herein are copyrighted by the author.
Readers may make copies of these patterns for personal use. The patterns themselves, however, are not to be duplicated for resale or distribution under any circumstances. Any such copying is a violation of copyright law.

To discover more line art patterns and detailed drawings to use with your next pyrography project visit us at Art Designs Studio, Lora S. Irish’s online original craft, carving, and pyrography pattern site. For free, online craft projects visit us at our blog,

Because making the artwork shown in this book using craft, woodworking, or other materials inherently includes the risk of injury and damage, this book can not guarantee that creating the projects in this book is safe for everyone. For this reason, this book is sold without warranties or guarantees, of any kind, expressed or implied, and the publisher and author disclaim any liability for any injuries, losses, or damages caused in any way by the content of this book or the reader’s use of the tools needed to complete the projects presented here. The publisher and the author urge all artist to thoroughly review each project and to understand the use of all tools before beginning any project.


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